Three Ways to Make Bedtime More Fun

Bedtime at our house is hit and miss. When we hit, we get through three of four books without crying then we snuggle together and fall asleep in less than 10 minutes. When we miss, we’re up until 10, both of us crying and dreading how much sooner wake up is going to be.

I like to focus on the things that lead to our hits and I can think of three things in particular that ensure we’re more likely to have a good bedtime routine than a disastrous one.

Put on a shadow puppet show

My oldest daughter and I made some shadow puppets one day when she was home sick. We made a raincloud, a fairy godmother, a dragon a princess and a bear. We have created about twenty stories out of these guys since then. Every single one of these has happened while she’s in bed with the lights off and just a small light guiding the shadow show. This works so well for us because it’s great bonding time but it’s also time spent in bed. If we’ve created 20 stories, I’d say 17 of those times, it’s been my daughter who has asked if she could go to sleep now.

Make up your own bedtime story

Reading to your child is awesome, writing stories with them is even better. This is another great one because it’s also done with your child already tucked into bed and gets their mind working extra hard which in turn makes their minds extra tired. More likely than not you’ll be able to just let your child talk and talk and talk while interjecting every now and again to turn their ideas into story form. We’ve come up with stories about dinosaurs who go camping, giants who play hopscotch, sisters who sneak around at Christmas and many more.

Say forget it and bring them into bed and watch a movie

Granted this only works if you have a normally decent sleeper. Bringing a child who never ever goes to bed easily may not be the best strategy but bringing one who normally sleeps well can be fun, even on a school night. I’ve found it far more productive to give up 45 minutes of my time to watch Cars than it is to yell at my daughter because she won’t go to bed. Half the time she’s asleep 30 minutes in and the other half it happens within the hour. There are also so many good children’s movies out there that you’ll likely want to finish watching even after they’ve been put into their beds.

And that’s that folks, three guaranteed (but not really) ways to get your kids sleeping at night. What I do promise though is that your kids will come up with all kinds of creative things if you use the first two and that you’ll see a heck of a movie when you try out the third one.

What tips do you use to get unruly kids to sleep on those sleepless nights?


Mike is an Ottawa born-and-raised husband and father of two. He’s obsessed with making sure his daughters says ‘daddy and mommy’ and not ‘mommy and daddy’ and with ensuring his daughters know they’re both one-of-a-kind.

  • ashley picco

    Love the shadow puppets!